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Good Samaritan, deputies rescue driver from Orlando retention pond

Driver without license caused crash, troopers say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A good Samaritan and first responders rescued a woman who ended up in a retention pond after another driver hit her vehicle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said 37-year-old Blanca Hernandez was driving an SUV northbound on Avalon Boulevard around 6 a.m. when she traveled into the direct path of a Cadillac SUV while making a U-turn onto Old Cheney Highway.

Hernandez’s Chevrolet hit the right side of Daphne Flakes’ Cadillac, sending it off the road and into a retention pond, records show.

A passerby and Orange County deputies helped get 50-year-old Flakes out of her vehicle. Both women were taken to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Troopers said Hernandez was ticketed for driving without a license and violating the right of way.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy trainee Cameron Mortell said that he was first to jump in the water. Mortell also said it was his seventh day of work with the sheriff’s office.

"I just told her, breath, stay calm," said Mortell. "I mean, it's just my job. Just saw it, so I had to do it. Someone had to do it."

Deputy Jeff Brown said that the woman was freed from the vehicle just in time.

“Just by the grace of God, when we got the door open, we got hands on her, the car went straight to the bottom. She was within seconds of losing her life,” said Brown.

Investigators also said that the woman told them that she did not know how to swim.